Dear Shaded Viewers,
Happy Birthday to Roger Avary.
“A guy who loves movies”. That was film critic Roger Ebert’s instinctive characterization of Roger Avary upon watching his directorial debut Killing Zoe in 1994. What’s more is there is a reverence and an integrity to Avary’s work ethic which shines through in his consideration for the work of authors he chooses to adapt. After spending eighteen months trying to transcribe Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels to the screen, he walked away from the project when it became clear the producers’ vision would borrow from Gaiman’s work but not pay tribute to its specific esthetic sense.
Some may be baffled by the diversity of said adaptations – from Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction to Japanese horror games Silent Hill – but there is consistency in Avary’s dedication to using his knowledge of the cinematic form and understanding of the source material to find innovative ways to connect the former to the latter. He inaugurated Apple’s Final Cut Pro software to edit The Rules of Attraction, efficiently achieving tricky effects such as split screens, once again proving his resourcefulness in interpreting non-cinematic art forms in the language of film.
Mr. Avary always swings for the fences and so it is no wonder that he has drawn both universal acclaim (his Oscar-winning collaboration with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction) and ire (his latest effort, Lucky Day). No matter what emotion he arouses in his audience, indifference is never it. His is a strange, free, ungraspable career which keeps one guessing what he might do next. And whether the film in question turns out to be an audacious reinvention of a 7th century Anglo-Saxon poem (Beowulf), or an adaptation of a surrealist play by Jean Cocteau (La Voix Humaine), it often turns out to be a film you never thought you needed but can never forget.
Maxime Le Guillou